Exhibition 11.08.20-31.08.20 > Adina Bar-On / More Than Enough
The gallery at the Tel Aviv Artists’ Studios has windows on three of its walls and a second door which leads to an intimate back yard surrounded by a garden, rendering the gallery a sense of a home where only the furniture has yet to be placed. Life has given me several opportunities to arrange my home anew and this activity has always been a source of pleasure; this process of arranging has been, for me, a formulation of the different meanings of home in the various contexts of my life.
While the audience will enter the gallery, a black wooden rectangular box – like an oversized coffin – with a constant stream of vapors falling over its four sides, will stand in a diagonal across the farthest quarter of the elongated gallery. Although its position in the space will appear as if it was only momentarily placed, this black wooden box will remain in the same place and position throughout the performance, marking all the situations with its consistent presence.
Another, much smaller object, will lean on the gallery wall when the audience will enter the gallery. It will be a white flag wound around its pole, leaning on the wall at the center of the length of the rectangular space, and opposite the entrance. The flag was originally made for the work “Disposition” (2000-2010), where I led people on a walking tour, always with this flag, presenting situations that brought forth the variability of both physical and emotional points of view. In addition, two furniture pieces, which I inherited, and which are usually in my living room: one is an upholstered armchair from the 1950’s, and the other is an antique, a one-hundred-year-old small side table, with a veneer surface and beautifully ornamented sides.
Upon entering the gallery, some persons will take a chair and be seated by one of the walls, though I will make a firm suggestion that the audience should allow themselves, while I perform, to move and walk, as individuals, within the space; each person should make it her or his privilege to move freely within the gallery, attuned to the choices of points of view that my movement with the objects will present; to make it their private decision to adjust their positions in accordance to the changing situations that will be created.
One of the choices to be made will be how far away from my interaction with the objects are they to stand or sit; to consider the range of perspective one wants to have and to realize that the farther one situates oneself, from the focus on me and the objects, the more viewers will be a part of the frame. The second choice that can be made is to stand or sit closer or closest to my movement with the objects. Sitting or standing in closer proximity to me and the objects will mean, of course, a very close and detailed view with no perspective, and little or no intervention of the other viewers.
I would probably have taken the flag wound around it’s pole from the wall a minute before greeting my guests, but very soon after greeting them I would begin creating an image with the flag: I will bend my knees and lay the flag on the floor; I will lay down, as well, while my face touches the floor and I will hold onto the flag with one hand and parallel to my body; I will avert my body to laying sideways while I will still hold onto the flag; with my body on its side, relaxed, I will face the flag and gaze at it.
Even while working with the flag, or with another object, or with none, I will continue all the while to bear attention to the audience; how and where people will be dispersed and clustered. Their situation will be an indication of their engagement. I will visualize the space with all who are present in it, as a live composition which I must compliment; paying attention to the angles, dimensions, fluctuations in time and rhythm of my movements will help me attain this achievement. There have been occasions in this performance that I had noticed in the midst of my involvement with the objects that the audiences’ arrangement surrounding me was a beautiful reflection of what I was doing. In those instances, I stopped and drew everyone’s attention to the magnificent composition that had been created.
To create images with furniture and with a flag which has already been my partner in many performances, leads my imagination to a limitless array of possibilities which are all playful and satirical, about my own life and life in general. The images that I will create with the three objects, in relation to the gallery’s space, enlivened with people, will only be the external narrative to this performance. The real purpose of the images that I will create with the objects is to draw enough curiosity from the onlookers so that each individual in the onlooking audience will be enthusiastic enough to cooperate with my invitation to be an active participant, that will move within the space and choose her or his private points of view.
If one will choose to view a situation from very near, than I could be by the feet of an elderly man seated at the edge of the gallery; I will be on my back with the armchair on top of me and the flag woven in-between us; I will hold the flag with two hands and maneuver it in-between the chair and my body until it will rise upward from under the chair and into the air. And that individual person from the audience, who will have chosen to be close to my movement with the objects, will be a part of the point of view of those who will have chosen to stand or sit in a farther point of view.
If another person will leave the group and choose to stand by me when I lift the armchair as high above my head as I can with my two hands firmly set on two of its legs, then I may brush by her or his shoulder as I stride away into the empty space in front of us. This person will, no doubt, experience the situation in a unique manner and be a part of the visual focus of the others who will have chosen to watch from farther away.
Another, final illustration, inevitably be me while I lean with all my weight on the chair as I will push it forward, forcing anyone who will insist to be close to the situation to break to the sides. The table and flag will be piled on the chair; table turned on top of the armchair with its legs up and the flag laying across, protruding between the table’s legs. The small table and flag will shake as I lean forward and push with all my strength, until the rubbing against the floor will produce a loud whoosh sound which will echo throughout the gallery. Here, there will be no choice for the audience but to stand back as the armchair is pushed forward with its loud whoosh and get a view of the wider composition.
It is usually in those unmonitored reactions that one can recognize some unique traits of one’s self. I hope the individual viewer of this performance will not return home just with the memory of the circus of situations that I had created with the objects; I hope that my display will also give way to a one’s private review of decisions and indecisions during the performance; to the reasons and concessions in making any particular choices; to reflection on the effect the other viewers may have had on one’s experience. Some potent reflections on the impressions of one’s experience.
The freedom to view encompasses permission to notice that which was not meant to be seen; for example, to notice, when standing aback, what someone who is situated in front of you is viewing, or to inevitably see in someone who is right beside you some details which should remain private and should not be shared.